Parenting is the best job in the entire world! But that’s not to say it’s not exhausting or difficult at times. These five tips will help make parenting a little easier and hopefully bring parents calmness, balance, and confidence.
- Make self care a priority: When we haven’t taken care of ourselves, we are much more reactive in our parenting and don’t have as much self control. But when we make self care a priority (whether that’s painting our nails, going for a walk in nature, taking a relaxing bath, etc), we become much more patient, calm, happy, and responsive in our parenting.
- Detach with love: We are often so attached to our children’s feelings, wants, needs, and behaviors that we take on their problems and emotions. We feel it is our responsibility to change or fix their feelings and problems. But being too invested in our children’s feelings can actually create problems. When we are too attached, the way our children feel and behave often influences the way we feel and react, making it harder for us to stay calm, patient and responsive with them. And when we’re reactive (ie, yell, use a tone, punish, ect.) our children hear our tone and feel our reaction more than they hear the words we’re saying or learn what we’re trying to teach them. So we want to detach with love. Detaching with love doesn’t mean that you don’t care, it means that your child’s behavior doesn’t have control over your response. Detaching with love means using a calm, neutral tone. It means welcoming your child’s feelings and being non-judgments. It means not taking on your child’s problems or feelings as your own. It means being supportive but not controlling, responsive but not reactive.
- Allow all feelings: The way we respond to our children’s feelings makes a huge difference in their behavior moving forward. When we try to stop the feeling through punishment (“Quit your whining or you’re going to sit in timeout) or through denial (“It’s okay. No need to be angry.”), the feeling doesn’t go away. It still there and either escalates in the moment or it gets buried and surfaces at another time. But feelings that are allowed to be expressed dissipate and lose their power, and our children begin to calm and can now problem solve. And remember, accepting and allowing the feeling does not mean that you are allowing the behavior, it just means you are listening to how your child feels. So start shifting your perspective on how you view your child’s feelings. Instead of seeing it as a bad thing or a poor reflection of you parenting, see it as a good thing. You are your child’s safe place to express their feelings.
- Hold firm to your limits and boundaries: Consistently stick to your limits and boundaries with firmness AND kindness. Be firm in holding to your limits, and kind in your tone and in allowing your child to express their feelings over the limit set. The earlier you can set and hold firm to your limits with your child, the better. If your child knows that crying or ignoring you will eventually allow them to do what they want, they will continue to do that behavior and push against your limit. And also remember to hold firm to your own personal boundaries. For example, I don’t enjoy having my children sit on my lap when I’m eating. It makes me feel so irritable, so I’ve set the limit that nobody sits on moms lap at meal time. Yes, my kids have tantrumed over it, but I know it’s a limit I need to stick to so that I can be the calm parent my kids deserve. So be consistent, firm, kind, and confident in the limits you set, and everyone in the family will feel so much better.
- Stop focusing on the little things: Sometimes we get so focused on correcting the misbehavior and getting things under control in that moment, that we forget that our kids are learning skills they will use for their entire lives. Stay focused on what you want your child to learn long term and it will make the little things feel less big. For example, when your children fight instead of focusing on the fact that they’re not getting along and reprimanding them for that to get the fighting to stop, focus on teaching them teamwork skills and problem solving skills that they can use the next time they fight, as well as you throughout adulthood when they have a disagreement with a spouse, coworker, friends, etc. Oftentimes teaching these skills does take more time in the moment, but once your children learn these skills it will make things much easier in the long run.
My course, Family Elements, is full of so many more parenting tools. You will learn the 4 steps to holding firm to limits/boundaries with firmness and kindness, how to handle your child’s emotions, life skills to teach your child, and so much more. Sign up here to be the first to know when the course launches, plus to receive an exclusive discount when it does launch. In addition, when you sign up, you’ll receive a free 7 Ways to Banish Backtalk printable.